CALGARY -- Unlike a year ago at this time, there is no controversy in Cowtown.
There's little criticisms --either inside the locker-room from players or outside of it from the media and fans -- directed at the new ownership and new head coach Tom Higgins.
That was not the case last year, where the team had to deal with daily strife. It only worsened when the Stamps started off slowly, putting Matt Dunigan, in his first year as head coach and also wearing the general manager's hat, in a position of self-defence.
"It's going to take time, but at the same time we're real confident in the guys we have here that everyone's on the bus together," linebacker Scott Coe, who came over Hamilton as a free agent last year, said yesterday.
"Everyone's bought into the system, bought into the team. Yeah, there's going to be growing pains, but it's going to be a little less time with those growing pains than it would normally, I think.
"Coach Higgins knows how to work through the tough times; work through any team issue. He has been there, he knows how it works. No slight to Coach Dunigan, but he (didn't) have the experience in the coaching area that Coach Higgins has and I think that's why it's going to be a big difference."
Quarterback Henry Burris, who came over from the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a free agent in the most significant off-season signing by the Stamps, said the team has come together.
"We had to deal with our coaching staff, which is something that you had to adapt to soon and quickly and we've done a good job of doing that," Burris said. "We've shown a lot of consistent play in practice. Now it's time to carry it over to the game."
Receiver Jeremaine Copeland, who signed with Calgary when Montreal failed to offer him the kind of money he felt he deserved, likes what he sees so far.
"We're really holding our destiny in the palm of our hands right now," he said. "If we go out and play ball the way we know we can, we're going to come out with a great season this year."